International operation combats online supply of counterfeit and illegal medicines

  1. ThirdEyeFloond
    An international week of action targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines has resulted in a series of arrests and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medical products.

    In response to an ever-increasing number of websites supplying dangerous and illegal medicines, Operation Pangea II involving 24 countries was co-ordinated by INTERPOL and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) to highlight the dangers of buying medicines online.

    National medicines regulators, police and customs worked closely together on the global operation from 16-20 November, focusing on the three principle components used by an illegal website to conduct their trade - the Internet Service Provider (ISP), payment systems and the delivery service.

    During the operation, Internet monitoring revealed 751 websites engaged in illegal activity, including offering controlled or prescription only drugs, 72 of which have now been taken down. In addition, more than 16,000 packages were inspected by regulators and customs, 995 packages were seized and nearly 167,000 illicit and counterfeit pills – including antibiotics, steroids and slimming pills, confiscated. A total of 22 individuals are currently under investigation for a range of offences including illegally selling and supplying unlicensed or prescription-only medicines.

    “Our primary goal in Operation Pangea II is to protect the public by removing counterfeit and illicit medicines from the market, by shutting down those engaged in illegal sales on the web and by criminally prosecuting those potentially putting the lives of innocent consumers at risk by selling counterfeit or illicit medicines,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

    Operation Pangea II increased participating countries over last year’s operation from 8 to 24 and added police and customs agencies to complement the work of the drug regulatory agencies. In addition, this year’s effort devoted an entire week to the operation as opposed to the one day of action in 2008.

    “As the very positive results of this global effort are made public, INTERPOL and its member countries will prove again that the Internet is not an anonymous safe haven for those who use it for criminal purposes. We also hope that by raising public awareness about the dangers of illegal internet pharmacies, consumers will exercise greater care when purchasing medicines on the Internet,” added Secretary General Noble.

    “Our thanks go to the police, customs and regulatory officials in the 24 participating countries as well as to our partner international organizations such as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IMPACT, the World Customs Organization and Universal Postal Union whose tireless efforts and dedication have made Operation Pangea II such a success,” concluded the head of INTERPOL.

    The operation was also run with significant support from the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC) the World Customs Organization, the UK’s Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Health Canada.

    Countries involved in Operation Pangea II were - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and the USA.

    Investigations are continuing, with the final results from Operation Pangea II to be released upon their conclusion. For additional information on national activities, please contact the enforcement agencies of the countries concerned.

    Interpol Media Release 19. november 2009

    Share This Article


  1. thecollectiveeffort
    Four Probed for Illegal Drugs


    Nov 20, 2009
    4 probed for illegal drugs
    By Jessica Jaganathan

    FOUR people are being investigated here for peddling drugs illegally online in the past week during a sting operation to curb a growing online drug trade.
    It was part of a global effort led by Interpol, the World Health Organisation and an international enforcement forum and was carried out over five days to weed out an increasing number of websites selling prescription drugs or health products containing ingredients of prescription drugs.
    Singapore was one of 24 countries which took part in 'Operation Pangea II'-which has snared 22 people worldwide so far this week.
    Out of 107 websites - forums, blogs, auction sites and online classified advertisements - screened here, four people have been caught selling drugs like slimming pills and oral contraceptives.
    This is the second time that Singapore is taking part in the concerted international effort against an illegal online drug trade. Last year, a smaller-scaled one-day operation caught one person selling Menergy M-Essence, a sexual dysfunction drug, and was let off with a warning.
    OPrescription drugs commonly sold online could be counterfeit, and consequently offer little or no redeeming benefit for a sick person. In some instances, the fakes may pose a major danger to public health especially since it is difficult to verify the authenticity of the website, supplier or drugs sold online, said Mr Yee Shen Kuan, the division director of Health Sciences Authority (HSA)'s enforcement division.
  2. akack2
    Customs seized 42,000 tablets in 2009 internet drug clampdown

    More than 42,000 potentially illegal and harmful tablets were seized by health chiefs, gardai and customs last year, it was revealed today.

    The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) said the haul was recovered after authorities joined an Interpol clampdown on internet drugs suppliers for the second year running.

    The Operation Pangea II week of action in November targeted the online sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines in 24 countries.

    Pat O’Mahony, IMB chief executive, said improved co-operation between the board, customs and gardai was leading to a huge increase in actions.

    “When you purchase medicinal products online there is no way of knowing whether they contain what they claim,” he said.

    “At best you are wasting your money but the real risk is that you could be taking something which has not enough medicine in it to treat your condition or it could contain too much medicine or other ingredients which could seriously damage your health.”

    The IMB’s annual report for 2008 revealed the number of enforcement cases launched over breaches in medicines law more than doubled on the previous year.

    At the end of 2008 it had 3,037 cases on its books compared to 1,397 a year earlier.

    The IMB said the increase was down to improved co-operation between customs, gardai and the board as they targeted illegal internet suppliers.

    Two websites, linked to the online trade and hosted by businesses in Dublin and Kerry, were shut down in 2008 as part of Operation Pangea.

    That year a total of 299,053 tablets, 55,789 capsules, 24 litres of liquids and 36.5kg of creams were seized by the IMB.

    The drugs were for weight loss, insomnia, stress relief, viagra drug Sildenafil Citrate, prescription level vitamins and antibiotics.

    05/02/2010 - 02/05/2010
  3. chillinwill
  4. akack2
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!